How to Sew an Irish or Scottish Kilt

(c)Chris Brown via Flickr  Creative Commons License
(c)Chris Brown via Flickr
Creative Commons License

Having a kilt custom-made can cost $170 or more. Buying an authentic kilt already made can cost $10 or more. Whether you want the kilt for Halloween, to celebrate with the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, to show your Celtic heritage, a traditional family wedding, or just because, that amount of money can really put a damper on the old pocketbook. Learning how to sew your own will cost you roughly half that amount and might make you that much more proud to being wearing a kilt.

Things You Will Need:

  • 4-5yards of material
  • Buckles (optional)
  • Velcro (optional)
  • Matching quilters thread
  • Kilt Instructions
  • Sewing machine
  • Needles
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk


Purchase or download Kilt instructions and/or pattern. This will be the base of your kilt. There are many patterns in which to choose from so pick based on your style preference and sewing ability.

There are many available on the internet, just type it in to your favorite search engine. Purchase your material (tartan). This is generally based on the Irish family county and the Scottish family name. If you are unsure of your Scottish or Irish patterns or colors, a little research might be needed. There are many sites on the internet that will show you what you need and even the businesses that offer your official material. If you are just making a kilt for fun, the material is really of your own choosing.

Measure the waist of the kilt wearer. Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist (about an inch above the belly button) and take note of the measurement. Add a few extra inches just to be sure it is not too tight.

Measure the hips at the widest part and take note of the measurement. Because the pleats will add thickness, be sure to add an inch or two.

Kneel on the ground and measure from your knee to your waist and take note of the measurement; this will ensure the proper length of the kilt.

Get out your chalk, pins measuring tape, and instructions.

You are now going to make your pleats. Pleats will vary according to different patterns and instructions.

Sew the waist of the pleats according to instructions.

Sew hanging edges according to instructions, this will ensure no edges on the kilt will fray.

Sew on the belt loops per instructions if are making loops.

Add the buckles and/or Velcro according to instructions.

Ready to get started but need some sewing help? Got you covered.

Craftsy offers FREE online sewing classes!

Online Sewing Class

Show off your kilt!

Here are some pics (from 2009) of my husband and I getting ready to go to RenFest. Look at how itty bitty kiddo was! (she’s 10 now! also, she looks freaked out, but she wasn’t. it’s just how it ended up looking cause he took the pic right as she was getting her drink)

matt mcconnell matt me and maddy


Cargo Kilt Instructions

How to Sew a Modern Kilt

Making a Kilt

Scottish Clans

Irish Tartans


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  1. I can not imagine that my hubby would ever be in a situation where he would need a kilt, but this is good to know just in case.

  2. You did a wonderful job making the kilts. I am not sure if I could get my husband to wear one, but I would love it if he did.

  3. This is great! 2yrs ago my daughter at the last minute wanted a kilt for her Halloween costume and I couldn’t find one anywhere… This would be great to have known then! Glad to know now!

  4. It has been a long time since I have sat down to sew anything . You kilts look awesome and your husband looks great. I will have to see if I can get my husband in one.

  5. Never knew anything about kilts – this was an eye opener – and your kilts are – WOW! Nope can’t see my hubby wearing one – no matter how masculine your hubby looks! lol

    1. I think it helps that he is Irish/Scottish and his father (Irish/Scottish) and his step mom (Irish) also wear them.

  6. That’s a manly man right there. I have a few friends and family in the UK who wear them when they go out and I love seeing them wearing it. I might make one for me, then again I’ll probably just buy it.

  7. Wow, so basically… buy a pattern and follow the instructions. I was hoping a little more for some photos of each step, as it’s nice to have a visual guide. I guess I’ll keep searching. Although, yours look great, I am new to sewing so hoping to get addition help.

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